The Chinese government is looking to develop the autonomous driving industry as a part of the country’s overall plan to reorient its economy towards a more high-tech industrial model that includes autonomous vehicles and related technology. In 2015, the State Council published a document entitled “Made in China 2025,” in which it detailed not only the reasoning behind this goal, but also the specific time frame in which they hope to achieve it. In this document, the State Council also names 10 specific industries in which the country plans to take the lead. Three of these industries—robotics, new-generation information technology and new-energy vehicles—point toward the autonomous vehicle industry.
Making a car drive itself is hard. Remaining compliant while doing it is harder still, thanks to government stakeholders advancing new, complex and sometimes conflicting regulatory frameworks in every corner of the country.
As the driverless revolution shifts into fifth gear, companies seeking to develop, deploy and scale autonomy face a shifting and uncertain legal landscape. Dentons boasts the world’s first and largest multi-discipline, multi-jurisdictional autonomous vehicle practice, with the expertise and footprint necessary to provide sound legal, technical and policy advice.
Our Autonomous Vehicles: US Legal and Regulatory Landscape report focuses on the US AV regulatory framework at both the state and federal levels, as well as providing the most up-to-date information on testing and deployment, liability and insurance, regulatory agencies and political leaders, and data privacy and security.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have extended the comment periods for possible amendments to two sets of federal regulations that impact autonomous vehicles: the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Originally, the comment period was scheduled to conclude on July 29. It will now remain open until August 28. The advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs) were originally published on May 28.
Both agencies’ calls for public comment are aimed at determining whether the rules and regulations currently in place are, collectively, an obstacle to the effective rollout of autonomous vehicles.
1. The big question before AV makers: first, or best?
But with consumer confidence in the technology (and the people developing it) slipping to historic lows, technologists and carmakers are sobering to the reality that half-baked deployment could kill the nascent industry in utero.
The root: Validating safety and performance in diverse, chaotic and multi-hazard environments has proven more challenging than engineers first believed. Not to mention, costlier.
By 2022, new cars produced in the EU will only come off the production line after being equipped with a series of intelligent systems to prevent accidents. These include Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) systems, which read speed limits (and/or obtain the relevant information from navigation systems), or so-called Speed Limit (Information) systems, which inform about the maximum permitted speed and, if necessary, limit the speed of the vehicle upwards (at a certain speed, no further increase is permitted).
In principle, one differentiates between intervening systems and (only) assisting systems. What makes ISA systems preferable to pure speed limiters (or speed limit information systems) is the technical detail of adapting the top speed to the local speed limit, by reducing engine power.
On July 1, 2019, the Beijing Automotive Driving Test Management Joint-Committee issued the first batch of L4 Level Automobile Road-Test driving licenses. The batch contained five licenses and all were obtained by Baidu, making it the first, and the only, company in China to have received the L4 license. The L4 license certificate is China’s number one, open-road, test-level qualification certificate, with the highest technical level, highest standard and most difficult testing scenarios.
Receiving the L4 license means that one’s autonomous vehicle has the ability to complete automated driving in complicated metropolitan roads at a level much higher than required by the T3 license.
1. Big tabs and hard realities.
Going-it-alone is, like, so 2018.
Volkswagen and Ford, one-time rivals fast sobering to the costs and difficulty of engineering next-generation cars, said Friday they would pool resources in the development of autonomous vehicles. Under the long-rumored deal, VW will invest upwards of $2.6 billion into Ford’s self-driving unit, which was already valued at $7 billion before the tie-up.
The agreement is the latest in a string—so many, in fact, that we’ve lost count—of fiercely competitive carmakers cooperating to develop self-driving technology.
- Only days earlier German firms BMW and Daimler said they would pool some 1,2000 technicians together to work on a shared autonomous Level 4 stack.